Food Science = meaningful science!

“…food can be a great vehicle for teaching chemistry, physics, maths and general science.” (p.15)

“…NZ particularly needs a healthy dose of scientific literacy around food and nutrition. It should be about what food we buy and how we prepare it; about having the knowledge to see through misleading marketing such as: ‘baked not fried’; and to interpret the information on the nutrition panel on the back of the packet. It’s things like knowing that the skin of a potato is the most nutrient-rich part, and that microwaving your broccoli is healthier than boiling it.” (p.16)

“There is evidence to suggest that the context within which science learning takes place has an important influence on student engagement and understanding. A recent report by Ako Aotearoa and Massey University found that ‘student engagement and transition [to tertiary science study] were most strongly influenced by lecturers’ style, personality, enthusiasm, and ability to place scientific knowledge into contexts that were relevant to the student, or which the students could construct for themselves.‘ In a 2011 report to the Prime Minister’s Office, Sir Peter Gluckman found that ‘engaging with science in real contexts provides opportunities for the development of students’ understanding of the culture and process of science and its unique place within society. This supports the direction of science education outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Food can be an excellent context for teaching basic scientific principles; its real world relevance lies in the fact that everyone eats food, most children select or buy their own food some of the time, and most will have to prepare their own food once they leave home. Food can be a vehicle for teaching the Nature of Science in areas such as experimental design and data analysis, or more specialised topics like pH titrations, oxidation-reduction reactions, enzymes, micro-organsims etc. Even physics topics such as heat transfer (e.g. cooking by convection/conduction/radiation), electromagnetic waves (e.g. in microwave ovens) and mechanics (e.g. in measuring the hardness and elasticity of solid foods) are applicable to foods.” (p.16)

Apparently, “There are some great case studies and teaching materials on centered around the properties of taewa Maori potatoes, and the technology used to deliver fish oil in functional foods.” (p.16) COOL

Loveday also refers us to: and and and and and

Ref: Simon Loveday (2012) teach food science to improve health outcomes New Zealand Science Teacher 129, pp.15-16

NOTE: reference is made to ‘Looking ahead: science eduation for the twenty-first century’ A report from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Available from ; ‘Engaging learners effectively in science, technology and engineering’ available from


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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